Bury my heart at Haditha
“After the taxi passengers were shot, the report found, the Marines raided nearby houses, firing indiscriminately, using both grenades and guns, in a bloody, door-to-door sweep, killing 14 unarmed inhabitants, in just 10 minutes.”
The notion that the Mainstream Media only reports bad news and does so only to make the administration look bad, may be more muted than it was several years ago, but it is still operative amongst the people who identify themselves as “conservative.”
“One 13-year-old girl was the lone survivor in the second house, losing five family members, including her mother and 3-year-old sister and 5-year-old brother. ‘He fired and killed everybody. The American fired and killed everybody,’ Safah Yunis Salem told investigators.”
Setting aside the notion that the press ought to stress the scanty examples of improvements in Iraqi life attributable to the American presence rather than the random acts of horrifying brutality because we need to maintain morale, we should ask ourselves what we would be most affected by were we in the shoes of the Iraqis. How would I weigh the news that my son’s school had reopened although it might be too dangerous for him to attend against the news that the Americans had raped my daughter, destroyed my brother’s car, killed my sister’s husband and ruined my livelihood?
I am not arguing that our troops are barbarians, but I cannot argue that some of them are not. Regardless of whether it is one percent or half of one percent that are committing humiliating acts, brutal acts and even murderous acts and regardless of whether we think we should take notice or ignore it, the Iraqis; the people we tell ourselves we conquered for their own good are going to remember each and every detail. They have little else to do sitting in the dark trying to cook something over a fire over scrap wood someone risked their life to obtain while bullets ricochet in the street.
How is it that our leadership was stupid enough to think we could demolish the infrastructure and institutions and resources of Iraq without plunging it into chaos and how is it that these idiots could believe we could do it without turning them against us? How is it that Americans who might otherwise seem sane can insist we need to ignore all this for the good of the troops and can still talk about “winning” when what we hoped to win has long since been destroyed?
(Cross-posted at Human Voices.)